8 Scopus citations


Background: Brachial plexus injury (BPI) is a life-altering event, and surgical treatment of BPI is costly ($66 million nationwide in 2006 alone). Despite the sizable costs associated with surgically treated BPI, the incidence of such cases in adults in the USA remains unknown. Questions/Purposes: We sought to provide an estimate of the national incidence of surgically treated BPI in the USA and to determine whether changes have occurred over time. Methods: We sought to identify privately insured adults ages 18 through 64 years who underwent BPI surgery between 2008 and 2014 in the IBM® MarketScan® Commercial Database. We then extrapolated those data to the same age group in the general population (all insurance types were considered), using data from the National Health Interview Survey and a study on the proportion of BPI surgery cases covered by private insurance to estimate the national incidence. We also used the Cochran–Armitage trend test to evaluate for statistically significant changes in BPI incidence over time in MarketScan private insurance data. Results: We identified 966 patients surgically treated for BPI in the MarketScan database in the study period. The average annual incidence of surgically treated BPI in this population of privately insured patients was 0.64 per 100,000 (range, 0.38 to 1.03). When extrapolated to all payers, the average annual incidence was 0.89 per 100,000 people (range, 0.53 to 1.47). In the MarketScan data, there was a statistically significant overall increase in the incidence of surgically treated BPI from 2008 through 2014 (0.47 per 100,000 to 1.03 per 100,000). Conclusion: The estimated annual incidence of surgically treated BPI is 0.89 per 100,000 persons in the USA, and the incidence has increased over time. These findings can serve as a baseline for further studies of disease epidemiology and societal and financial impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-343
Number of pages5
JournalHSS Journal
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • brachial plexus injury
  • incidence
  • insurance
  • surgeons


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